Creating, sustaining and scaling hubs of innovation

Levelling up and staying ahead

It is now widely recognised that economic productivity is unevenly distributed across the UK.   

The towns and cities with the highest productivity and growth tend to have harnessed innovative products and services, creating the right conditions for success. As global strategist Parag Khanna puts it, “Connectivity is destiny”. A place cannot change its location, but investing in its connectedness – whether physical, digital or social connectivity – can create new opportunities.   

The development and implementation of connected places innovations that deliver greater mobility, access, optimise land use, improve decision making, foster new public spaces and points of human interaction are therefore integral to both the revival of regional economies and the sustained success of the UK’s existing engines of innovation.  

“Connectivity is destiny. A place cannot change where it is located, but by investment in its connectedness it can create new opportunities.” – Parag Khanna

Connected Places Catapult has worked with a range of public and private sector place leaders to seed and stimulate local hubs of innovation both in the UK and globally. 

From the Belfast City Region to Sharjah in the UAE, we have experience partnering with places to help unlock new economic potential through the adoption of new technologies and innovative approaches. We help seed and scale new and existing hubs of innovation by mobilising local and regional ecosystems around a shared plan and attracting investment.  

Building on that experience, we have generated a range of new analysis and guidance to help more places spark new hubs of innovation activity or amplify the impact of existing ones. 

Hubs of Innovation – The role of Districts, Corridors and Quarters as hubs of the Covid-adjusted innovation economy 

How places become hubs of innovation, discovery and job creation has rapidly become a worldwide preoccupation for cities, local governments, regions and nations. We know that some places become hubs of innovation while others don’t – and that what works in one place doesn’t necessarily translate to another. This global review of established hubs of innovation, updated for 2021 identifies ten archetypical models, the common traits and the characteristics unique to each of the ten.  

Hubs of Innovation: A Playbook for Place Leaders

The Hubs of Innovation Playbook is a practical guide for place leaders who seek to establish or grow a hub in their region. With more than 100 locations in the UK already considering themselves locations of innovation in some shape or form, there is a huge amount of potential to turbo-charge the progress of these places, grow more high-value start-ups and generate the kind of positive spill-overs and whole place returns which are needed to ensure that hubs fulfil their role in the mission to level-up the UK.  

Case study: seeding an innovation ecosystem in the Belfast City region

UK growth centres report launched by Connected Places Catapult

Location, location, location
Third Thursday: levelling up lessons from Belfast and beyond

Enriching innovation ecosystems with diversity in business and cities

Connectivity is the key to recovery
Whether you are looking to level up or stay ahead, Connected Places Catapult provides impartial advice and practical support to help places harness the power of innovation — and bridge the gap between innovators, industry, buyers and suppliers in the connected places market. Contact us on

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